Towards a Just Coal Transition : Labor Market Challenges and People’s Perspectives from Lower Silesia

Part of a three-region set of papers analyzing coal-related labor market challenges in Poland, this paper focuses on Lower Silesia. The findings call for a more territorial-oriented approach to brokering the coal transition, rather than a sectoral one. First, while the number of people directly and indirectly affected by coal mine closures in Lower Silesia (~5,500) is relatively small compared to the total regional labor force (<1%), affected workers are heavily concentrated geographically. Second, workers in heavily affected municipalities have lower foundational (but better technical) skills than their regional and national counterparts, and already operate in lagging local economies. Third, while eager to work, discrete choice experiments about their job attribute preferences show that they are averse to both, commuting and relocating for work, even though less so than in Silesia and Wielkopolska, the two other regions. Together this suggests that there are important welfare and political economic benefits to adequate job creation locally. The paper further advances a data-driven viable-job-matching tool specifically tailored to the Polish labor market and illustrates how it could be used to assess the potential of local labor markets and future investments to absorb the coal-affected workers accounting for their skills profile, re/upskilling needs and job attribute preferences.